Media Blitz: Tech Pubs Distressed

By @NY Staff

The struggles in the tech media sector hit the high gear this week with news that New York-based CMP Media would immediately shut down its InternetWeek magazine.

CMP Media spokesperson Alix Raines told atNewYork the decision to shutter the magazine was a result of the ongoing contraction in the advertising market. “It was clear that the vendor community no longer supports InternetWeek as a separate marketing tool. (We) will continue to cover Internet-related topics through the other publications.”

CMP Media, a subsidiary of UK-based United Business Media (formerly United News & Media), also publishes three other IT-focused magazines — Information Week, Network Computing and Optimize.

Raines said the shutdown of the title would lead to layoffs but declined to provide specifics on how many employees would be affected. She said CMP Media would try to reassigned affected employees within the company.

The magazine had a controlled-circulation list of 275,000 subscribers and Raines said those readers would be reached through the remaining titles. It is unclear if the company plans to pull the plug on the InternetWeek Web site

CMP Media has an active online presence which includes Web versions of its print publications and portals like ChannelWeb (targeting computer resellers), TechWeb (tech news) and Electronics Design & Technology News. The company, which has headquarters in Manhasset, New York, also sells technology testing services, forum hosting services, and custom research.

The shutdown of InternetWeek is the latest in the wave of closures that have hammered the tech publishing sector. Just recently, competitor Ziff Davis Media merged its eWEEK and Interactive Week publications and shut down the Smart Partner magazine.

The list of shuttered or scaled back tech news publications include The Industry Standard, Inside, Red Herring and Silicon Alley Reporter and AlleyCat News.

Separately, the New York Post is reporting that Ziff Davis Media is in desperate need of $15 million by January 15 to meet interest due on junk bonds.

Strapped for cash, the newspaper said Ziff Davis owner, Chicago-based Willis Stein & Partners, was involved in feverish negotiations with more than 50 banks headed by principal lenders CIBC, Deutsche Bank Alex.Brown, and Fleet Bank.

It said Ziff Davis Media had already slipped into technical default in October on its $180 million revolving credit facility.

“While it was meeting the monthly interest payments, it had fallen afoul of the bank covenants. Since the company has defaulted on its bank notes, the bankers have a right to block the bond interest payment due next week. Currently, the junk bonds are trading at about 20 to 30 cents on the dollar,” the New York Post said, hinting that a bankrutpcy reorganization is not out of the question.

Officials at Ziff Davis could not be reached for comment at press time.

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